Matt Kemp Fourth In Fantasy Drafts? Really?

Personally, I don’t see any scenario that Kemp would figure into the top four players selected on draft day, but I’ve heard rumblings of people willing to do it, ahead of Ryan Braun and Chase Utley (the top three as Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez & Alex Rodriguez).  I like Kemp as much as the next guy.  I have him ranked as the second outfielder off the board and a sure fire first round pick, but taking him in the top four just seems curious to me, even if you put Ryan Braun in the Top Three.

He’s a stud offensive player, as he displayed early and often in 2009:

606 At Bats
.297 Batting Average (180 Hits)
26 Home Runs
101 RBI
97 Runs
34 Stolen Bases
.352 On Base Percentage
.490 Slugging Percentage
.349 Batting Average on Balls in Play

There is no number there that I don’t think he could repeat.

  • He’s a career .299 hitter
  • The power came courtesy of a very realistic 14.4% HR/FB (his career mark is 13.6%) and 38.3% flyball rate
  • He stole 35 bases in 2008
  • He’ll be joined in the lineup by the likes of Manny Ramirez and Andre Ethier, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities to both score and drive in runs

He’s a star and we all know it, but what is the justification for taking him over someone like Braun (or Utley for that matter), who has:

  • Home Run totals of 34, 37 and 32 the last three seasons.  The 32 HR year (2009) came courtesy of a 34.1% flyball rate when he had been at 44% his first two seasons.  He has a realistic chance of reaching 40 in 2010.
  • Has posted a career average of .308 including seasons of .324 and .320
  • In 2009 posted 114 RBI and 113 R.  Considering he shares a lineup with Prince Fielder, he should easily be just as good as Kemp in both categories, meaning they both should push 100/100.

The only place where Kemp has the advantage is speed, though Braun is no slouch there having stolen 15, 14 and 20 bases over the past three seasons.  Is he going to reach the 30+ plateau?  Probably not, but he more than makes up for his “shortfall” there with the immense power he possesses.

Maybe it’s just me, but I just don’t see it.  Braun is an absolute stud player and that’s not a knock on Kemp.  While Kemp could push 30/30, Braun could go 40/20.  With the ability to get speed late in your draft, I’m more than happy to take a player who helps there, but has tremendous power as opposed to the player with better speed and less power.

What about you?  If you had the choice which of the two players would you take and why?

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  1. Braun all day. He’s just a stud. I want the 40/20 guy over the 30/30 guy every day of the week, especially when you factor in the average.

  2. Chuck says:

    I have Braun #5 and Kemp #7 overall in my rankings, so I’m with you. Kemp is not the same run producer Braun is.

  3. Michael Keneski says:

    This one is too easy. Braun all day and all night. Kemp is a favorite of mine but he is prone to strikeouts which could be exploited and drop his average.

  4. TY says:

    Chuck- who do you put at #6 then if kemp is at #7? I’m interested. I rate Kemp at #6 and Braun at #5 but I could put him over Braun in some situations. Braun’s only thing that bothers me is the back issues, it hasn’t been a huge concern, but you cant deny he’s had a few missed games here and there with back issues, thats not good for the future. I would too choose the power 40/20 over the balanced 30/30 guy…

    Michael K- How can you say Kemp is prone to Strikeouts over braun? Their stats are almost identical in almost an identical amount of at bats.

    Matt Kemp 139K’s 52BB
    Ryan Braun 121K’s 57BB

    I dont want to rag on people but please google stats before making comments. It takes 5 seconds and then you dont have to pull things from thin air.

    My top 6 go:

    And by years end I see AROD regaining the #1 position. A full year in that stadium with that line is going to = sick numbers.

    And i HATE the yankees.

  5. Rotoprofessor says:

    Ty, I agree with your Top 5 (though in a slightly different order), but there are a few people that I could see ranked above Kemp, like Teixeira & Miguel Cabrera. Some people could have Howard & Fielder above him, but those are a bit more questionable.

  6. Jimmy says:

    If you’re going to take someone that high, you need someone with a guarantee. Kemp really only emerged last season, while Braun has shown he can put up top numbers since day one – for three years already. And Braun and Kemp do K a lot, yet Braun has seen a very nice decrease in his strikeout rate from the get-go. Kemp showed it last year, but he needs to duplicate it again this year, in a position where he’ll be counted on for more in the lineup. No way Braun should go after Kemp. I’m high on him, but let’s see how “for real” last season was… not enough to draw from yet to anoint him a top-4 pick

  7. TY says:

    RP- Why are howard and Fielder more questionable than Miggy and Tex??? I like all of them don’t get me wrong, but they’re power hitting 1B. You throw their names in a hat and draw one out and basically you’re getting the same player. The people i see ranking TEX at #6 and him being drafted there kinda makes me wonder why?

    Sure tex and Miggy hit for higher average, although prince could hit .300 but prince and howard are the ONLY ones who can give you a 45/140 season…. Miggy and TEX are not hitting over 40, tex maybe tops out at 40.

    I just love a 5 cat contributor. Maybe one night he’s helping you in power, the next night he’s stealing, always on base, getting runs, etc…. OF is not as deep as it seems on the surface. 1B is tremendously deep. And saying that I do want a big 1B bat, but if i had the choice of KEMP or any of the 1B listed, i go kemp all day.

  8. Rotoprofessor says:

    As for the 1B, I think the average is a huge deterent for Howard & Fielder. Plus, with Fielder, there is the extra concern about his power. Are you going to get the HR totals from ’07 & ’09, or the ’08 version?

    As far as Kemp and the other first baseman, we just don’t know if ’09 was Kemp’s ceiling. It’s a great ceiling, but is there any guarantee that he’s going to be better than .300/25/35/100/100?

    Teixeira has proven that he can be .310/40/0/120/100. I could understand someone putting that ahead of Kemp.

    Cabrera has proven that he can be .325/35/5/120/100. Again, I could understand someone putting Kemp behind him.

    Kemp is definitely a Top 10 player in 2010, there’s no question, but I certainly don’t think it’s a given that he’s Top 6 heading into 2010.

  9. TY says:

    Prince is about a .290 hitter, tex is .290 career.

    I’ll pass on tex and take a prince or howard that COULD hit 50+, tex will not ever hit that…

    he’s not really a .310 hitter either, .300 at best, .290 career.

    I’m just not sold on the idea kemp isn’t top 6? If Braun is top 5 then i see kemp right behind him…. How can his ceiling be what he did last year when he batted 6th or 7th almost all year?

    His stats are going to improve, how much, i guess we’ll find out and next year he can cement his position in the first round…

    Grady was first round material (7-8th pick) when he was batting .270 and putting up kemps stats….

  10. Rotoprofessor says:

    Honestly, I was never the biggest Sizemore fan, so he’s not the best person to use as an arguement for me…lol

    Kemp is very much worth a first round pick. He’s also very much a Top 8 pick. Personally, I think 6-8 is fairly interchangable, depending on your preference.

  11. I agree with the RP. Fielder, Howard, Cabrera, and Tex are pretty much interchangeable. Fielder’s RBI jump scares me a bit. Not sure he can reach that total again.

  12. TY says:

    I’ll agree with that. I like Grady because i’m from OHIO and the tribe is my team, but ya its hard taking a guy who’s an OF’er and only going to bat .260-.270 in the first round….

    Kemps average I think def’ly puts him over Grady.

    I also agree that Kemp could go from 6-10 and any of the previously mentioned 1B could interchange… which basically I WOULD NOT want to draft from the 6 slot to the 10th spot or if anything i’d rather be in the 10th spot…

  13. Matt says:

    I think an argument can be made for him at 4, but I would rather have Utley for sure and probably Braun as well. I would be tempted to take him above Braun. Kemp has some room for growth. His HR’s totals have been going up annually. With O-Dawg gone… Torre might come to his senses and have Kemp hit at the top of the line up. In the end I like Braun more b/c there is less risk. He has had three good seasons. With Kemp, he would have to continue to get better in order to topple Braun for the #1 OF spot. However, there is risk with Braun too. How much of his number last year especially runs are attributable to Fielder having a career year. When Fielder hit 34 HR’s and hit 270 in 2008, Braun had 20 less runs. If Kemp hits 2nd I think he is a look for repeating his run total from last year, and a good chance to get 120 and get more runs than Braun.

    I think by the end of the year Kemp and Braun will be seen as mirror images of one another, Braun being the run producer and Kemp the run scorer. I think Kemp will have more runs and sbs. Braun will have more RBI and HRs. I think in the end it will come down to average. They both will hit around 310, which they did in the minors.

    I’d say if you are a more conservative drafter I’d go Braun. If you are a willing to be more risky, I’d take Kemp (hoping he hits 30+ HRs– I agree with the person above who would rather a 40-20 guy than a 30-30 guy, but if Kemp can become a 35-35 guy you have to give him the nod).

  14. Matt says:

    To defend Tex a bit against Fielder. I would definitely pay $5-10 more for Tex in an auction. Fielder might hit 50, but Tex is money in the bank for hitting 295 with 120 Runs and RBI. It is not out of the realm of possibility that in that park Tex hits 50HRs. If you look at them head to head with conservative projections:
    Tex: 105 Runs 35HRs 125 RBI 295.
    Fielder: 95 Runs 40HRs 110RBI 285

    Fielder is hard to project b/c he had two good seasons and two amazing ones. While Tex consistently puts up very good numbers

    If we give projections that reach for each:
    Tex: 120 runs 45Hrs 130 RBIs 305
    Fielder: 110runs 50HRs 130 RBIs 290

  15. BLAZE says:

    It (IS) out of the realm of possibility that tex mashes 50 hr’s. He’s been playing forever and has only hit over 40 once in his career (43*)was the career high. And just b/c he’s playing in a nice ball-park now doesnt make me wanna pencil him for 50 either. He played in Texas so he’s been there done that.

    50 impossible
    45 absolute ceiling
    40 great season
    35-40 what you should expect.

  16. TY says:

    blaze thank you for posting that….

    TEX has no chance of hitting 50… do you guys think he’s 24 and progressing? do you think all of a sudden he’s going to NOT SLUMP in march and april???

    CAREEEEEER .249 hitter in 7 seasons….. SEVEN SEASONS.

    And this was in Texas and ATL where it was warm…

    Please recognize trends. He MIGHT hit 45 but thats maxing him out beyond all of his career. He’s about a 35 HR guy, the new park makes him maybe a 40 HR guy especially since he hit 39 lastyear, and you can say arod healthy a full year will give him a few more so lets put him at 42…

    he’s not hitting 50, stop dreaming yankee fans.

    He hit 43 when he was 25, that was his best, and he’s going on 30… 50 is NOT happening.

  17. Matt says:

    First of all I am far form a yankee fan. Second,you guys are going off on one thing I said. The substance of what I said still stands. Tex is worth an extra $5 in an auction. You’ve not disputed my projected reach stats and conservative ones. If you are going to be spending so much on a 1B you’d want the security of Tex over the upside of Fielder I would say. I think Fielders 141 runs last season was a bit inflated and people are going to be spending the same on Fielder as Tex. I can see the argument for doing so, but I think theres risk involved

  18. TY says:

    gotya matt.

    I was drinking for 1, haha, i do that from time to time…

    I understand what you’re saying, but lets say tex is on average a 35 HR hitter, should push 40. Well Prince hasn’t went below 34 in the past 3 years and 2 of those 3 years he hit 46 and 50. I’ll pay for the potential of him hitting 50 and he only hits 35. Plus you’re right the 141 RBI’s MIGHT be a bit high, but he should knock in 120 with that line up easily.

    Like i mentioned about 10 posts up Miggy, TEX, Fielder and Howard are all very interchangebale to me.

    Miggy and Tex are your more consistent average guys but wont hit over 40 hrs. Fielder and Howard are your 45HR+ Threat guys. Howard will suffer in average compared to the others but has a GREAT line up and park and basically guarantees you 45/140 since he’s put that up like 4 years in a row now… its all what you want i gues… Fielder might be the wishy washiest of the bunch just because we haven’t seen him in as many seasons PLUS he’s put up that one odd season between a couple monster ones…. all in all he should smack 40 hrs.

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